The Southwest Cougars were in a giving mood heading into the Christmas break with a home and home series against the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Cougars went into the weekend series trailing Brandon by 1 point. A pair of Wheat King five goal outbursts moved them 5 points up on the Cougars. The Cougars remain in sixth place heading into the Christmas break with a record of 18-6-3 for 39 points. The Cats finished December on a three game winless streak
Friday night the Cougars forgot to show up for the first period and Brandon jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never looked back walking away with a 5-1 win. The Cougars out chanced Brandon in the second and third period but Dallas Green kept the Cougars at bay turning aside 36 shots for the win. Rylan Thiessen and Nolan Ritchie scored goals in the first 4 minutes before the Cougars called a time out. The Cougars got on the board when Trent Sambrook scored a power play goal from Austin Clyne and Braeden Lewis to get the Cats on the board at 9:01. Troy Hamilton then basically sealed the deal with a pair of goals to end the first period. Brayden Michalchuk scored early in the second period to finish the scoring as the teams played even the rest of the way. The Cougars outshot the Wheaties in the game. Randy Cooke and Caden Wilson, who took over in the second both faced 9 shots.
Saturday night in Brandon, Callum Fortin opened the scoring as he jammed home a Tyson Kozak rebound 5 minutes into the game. The Cougars took a 2 goal lead with a power play marker as Matthew Ramsey found the mark from Tyson Kozak and Hunter Andrew early in the second. Rylan Thiessen scored a shorthanded goal 6 minutes into the second frame. Brayden Michalchuk then evened the score at the 16 minute mark with his second goal of the weekend. Nolan Ritchie put a dagger in the Cougars when he scored a power play goal with 5 seconds left in the second period. The teams were back and forth in the third, but Troy Hamilton struck 5 minutes into the third for a 4-2 lead. Callum Fortin scored his second goal of the night 12 minutes into the third when he hooked up with Tyson Kozak and Cory King with the man advantage.The Cougars had the extra attacker on the ice with Caden Wilson on the bench, but Nolan Ritchie knocked the puck down at the Brandon blue line and broke in all alone for the Wheaties 5 goal. Ritchie took over the AAA scoring lead with 58 points. Dallas Green faced 41 Cougar shots, while Caden Wilson faced 28 in the Cougars net.
The Cougars return to action on January 5 when the Pembina Valley Hawks pay a visit, with Central Plains in the Cougar den the following day.